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Harmeny Pentland Runners

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July Update

Several interesting reports this month despite July being a quiet race month so happy reading.

 A request from the runners council about swapping race numbers

 In the instructions to entrants to all races there is usually a requirement that you should not pass your number to anyone else.  Some events may permit you to pass your number provided you get the agreement of the race organiser.  This requirement is for two main reasons.  The first is that in the event of an entrant being taken ill in a race the next of kin can be informed.  One can not imagine the distress both to the organiser and the entrant’s family if this can not be done because the organisers only have the details from the original runner.  The second scenario is if the new runner is younger and faster than the original runner and then is placed in the original runner’s age group and therefore deprives other runners in that age group of their rightful position or has to admit to the organiser that they have someone else’s number.  I suppose that strictly speaking passing numbers could be classified as cheating, even if not intentional, and at least unsporting. If it is visible to Scottish Athletics, esp at the “performance end” of the spectrum, sanctions against individual runners will be swift and punitive.

 Club Handicap Races 2009

From Ian May: “A number of club members have asked how the handicap system works so I will try explain.

The system is intended to allow all members of the club to compete in a selection of races on an equal footing – no pun intended!  At the start of the year a number of races are chosen as club handicap races, for example the Scottish Gas 10k and 5k races last weekend are two of the races chosen. Every club member has a handicap time which is meant to reflect their likely times for either race.  When the results are available I compare the times achieved by those members who have entered with their handicap time and the male and female members who have beaten their handicap by the most are the winners and receive a rather nice trophy to keep.  I then adjust all the handicap times of those entered in the race to better reflect the current form of individual runners.   Handicap times usually fall more rapidly than they go up! I only use the nominated handicap races to adjust times. “

See below for Gail’s bit about the Club Water of Leith run in August: Your handicap time is used in order that your start time is such that everyone should finish at the same time!  The first to the finish is the winner in this race but again everyone stands an equal chance – if I have got the handicap times correct!

So how do you get your first handicap time?  Usually you let me have a race time – any race will do the more recent the better – or if you haven’t entered a race give me some idea of who you run with and I’ll try to estimate a time.  I can be contacted at

Finally I have a number of trophies to present for the handicap events run this year.  We intend to present them at 7:00 on Wednesday 5th August – so if you have won one try to attend. “

 WOL club handicap run- organised by Gail Crosbie

“Well  I know you’ve all been excited to see this pop up in the newsletter and the discussion board and here it is.  Water of Leith Harmeny Handicap 23rd August 2009.  Our very own Annual Club Handicap race to which all Club Members are invited and friends and family can enter too at a very modest entry fee of 3

What would be very helpful at this stage if everyone can update Ian May ( and Gail Crosbie ( by no later than 16th August of both their intention to enter and a current 10k race time (although if you appear on the handicap list you can turn up on the day). Friends and family who are entering should let us know prior to the event.  As you can imagine it gets a little hectic on the day and whilst morning entries are fine if you know you’re hoping to make the race then please let us know.

To allow all Harmeny members to compete, the race will be dutifully staffed by non Harmeny bodies roped in by myself.  Many of them are non athletes and whilst wonderfully efficient anything to make things a little easier on the race morning would be great.  If you don’t have a time please chat with Bob or Anne Douglas /Ian May and an appropriate time will be allocated. 

After the race we are also suggesting that we have an informal gathering to which all family/friends are invited.  We thought if the weather was nice it would be an opportunity to chat, hang out and munch whatever everyone would like to snack on after the race.  Anyone who needs me to transport their food can put it in my boot and i’ll take it to the finish line for them to have after the race.  If it turns out to be a little wet and miserable it really won’t matter and we can all wander home instead.

At the moment i’m welcoming all help offered but in particular i’m hoping for a volunteer to cycle in with the last runner and perhaps someone willing to jog in from the 5k mark to allow any new people to join in on the day if they’re not quite able to manage the 10k distance yet.  Also anyone who is injured but feels up to volunteering for either of these roles please just let me know.   Thanks Gail.”

PS I think Gavin might be organising some rounders/softball   for Harrison Park as well.  Anne

Reports from near and far (and short and long)

Paul Houston reports from the US-

Run with the Devil 10K
Boulder City, Nevada
27 June 2009

2    Paul Houston   39:19

This race seemed like a good idea when I entered it online on a freezing December Edinburgh day. I began to question my judgment when I got to Las Vegas the day before the race and the temperature topped out at 106F (41c)! Still, the race started at 7am so how hot could it possibly be?

It was already 28c when I woke up at 5am. By the time I'd made it out to Lake Mead, where the race took place, it was well over 30c and by the time the race finished, it was around 38c! The 10k was part of a series of races all taking place on the same day. There was a 5K, 10K, Half-marathon, marathon and 50 mile race. The 10k race followed the main hilly road around Lake Mead for 3 miles, before turning back on itself.

The ultra runners started first. It was amazing to watch the truly mad set off in their all white gear, with at least 6-8 hours of 100F+ temperatures to look forward to. The 10K runners (around 80) started 5 minutes later. I stood out like a pasty-white sore thumb amongst all of the deeply tanned athletes who had obviously had the chance to train extensively in that climate. The closest I got to training in the heat came at the Edinburgh Marathon!

Rather stupidly, I started off at my normal 10K pace. The heat, coupled with a not-too-restful (or sober) night in Las Vegas the night before, put paid to that pace within a mile. The toughest part of the race was not the heat, but the wind. Because of the dry heat, the wind was actually hot, like a hairdryer, and within half a minute of taking on fluids, my mouth was again dry as a bone and I had difficulty breathing.

But my early pace had me in second place and I gave it everything I had. Luckily there were water stops at every 1.5 miles, and I had to stop for at least 10-20 seconds at each stop to take on enough water.

With half a mile to go, I was still in 2nd and went all out to maintain my position and finish in 39:19. The winner (34:06) looked like he had hardly even broken sweat, whereas I literally collapsed over the line in a gasping, bright red, heap, much to the bemusement of the spectators!

Still, looking back now, it was loads of fun! Afterwards, I drove along the 50 mile route and took some pictures of the proper, hardcore runners. I've posted some of the pics here:

Gheral Brownlow 10K
Prescott, Arizona
4th July 2009

91   Paul Houston      64:09

Again, not the best of race preparations, consisting of a long night in an Irish Bar in Phoenix! The race started at 7am, just like the previous race, or so I thought. I arrived at the race start at 6:45am after a 2 hour drive from phoenix. The field was a lot smaller than I thought, and no-one was dressed for the race yet. Turns it had started at 6:30am...oops!

The organisers had, however, thankfully arranged for a timing chip and mat to be used. So I decided to be cheeky and even do a few strides before starting the race almost 25 minutes after everyone else!

By comparison to the Las Vegas race, this race was held in the high desert on sandy trails, so the temperature was a lot more manageable. However the sand underfoot, and lack of company, drained any energy that was there to begin with. 

The course reminded me of all of those tough cross country days in Broxburn, Livingston and kirkcaldy, only with a lot nicer temperatures! I crossed the line in 40:33 (watch time) which was the second fastest time overall on the day. Unfortunately, I failed to notice that the timing mat was only at the end, so everyone's start time was taken as the gun time. So my official time was 64:09, and 91st place out of 156.

On the plus side, it cleared my hangover just in time for 4th July celebrations!

Alan Price on two half in the west-

6/6/09 Stranraer Half So it's October right? Leave Edinburgh 630 am in a passable imitation of a summer's morning, arrive Stranraer 9.00 where it's cold, miserable and raining. The perennial Scottish runner's dilemma was between T and vest and long sleeve. I was one of the few who chose the former, and thought I was mad while warming up. Like Balloch in March, quarter of a mile, 2 stretches then back inside to stay warm. Martin solved the problem with a woolly hat and fleece. By race start it had stopped raining. Set off through the town then out to an industrial estate around 2 miles, but it improved: a right turn up a country lane and then a pleasant undulating course through to mile 11 or so when we came back through the industrial estate. Around mile 9 the sun appeared for a few minutes and I thought I might have been over-dressed in the T-shirt, but the Scottish summer reimposed itself. Felt awful around 2-3 miles, but then ran even pace for the last 10, passing people fairly consistently, although I couldn't catch the guy in front of me in the finishing straight. Makes 3 good halves in a row in the last 3 months - must go wrong soon. D&G council are clearly trying to use the race to market the area, so it was sad to admit on their questionnaire that, despite enjoying the race and thinking of returning if it fitted with other races (there were one or two Edinburgh Marathon T-shirts in evidence 6 days after that race, but that's either exhibitionism or foolhardiness), I had to admit to spending no money in Stranraer, and staying less than 5 hours including the race. They wanted suggestions for improvement and I raised the possibility that they should think of a full marathon next time, perhaps in March if Dumfries were dropping theirs -  then people would have to stay. There was a large contingent from Northern Ireland for this race. Only the two of us from Harmeny,

100/192 Howard Okely 1h 49:13 (and first in category)

113/192 Allan Price 1h 52:12

5/7/09 Arran Half This time a scorching day; I came back with red and white (not go faster I'm afraid) stripes on my arm where I missed the suncream. I recall light showers the last two years. No such luck this time. The course seems to get harder each year; last year I found I'd forgotten the third hill back on to the String Road; this year how much the course undulates even when that hill flattens out around mile 10. But it's still a great circuit, especially around Machrie, through the country with views out to Kintyre, shimmering in the haze this time rather than lost in the mist.The first two hills I actually enjoyed this time (although not the third). Three of us had travelled down, to join two busloads travelling from the ferry to Blackwaterfoot. Bellahouston were the best represented (8 on the results list, but there seemed more purple at the start. I didn't see many of them after that). Martin was wearing a yellow sun hat for this race which meant I could see him several minutes ahead up to about mile 11. I was almost 3 minutes slower than last year with my splits getting slower and slower every time I looked. Its not supposed to be like this now. Still I was slightly higher up the field than last year: I blame the heat rather than over-training, but I'll tell you if I was right in the July 26 race report - see below. There were about 20 more runners this year than last so hopefully Paul Emsley will run it again. He seems to organise this race almost single-handed, with local families running the 4 water stations. For 9.50 the bus is laid on, the race organised, a medal provided, with post-race bananas and juice, with nobody to tell me that I was only allowed one banana and one bottle of water as they did last Tuesday in Inverleith Park. I thought I'd better not ask him yesterday when next year's will be, but if it's on I'll be back. Winner finished in 1h 13:28 and the Harmeny effort was

64/109 Howard Okely 1h 50:25

75/109 Allan Price 1h 54:37

107/109 Caroline Delahoyde 2h 25:40 - first half marathon and probably couldn't have chosen a tougher one to start with: all the rest will be much easier.

Next up San Francisco. The good news is that it was colder there Saturday than Edinburgh, so maybe I'll be able to run all the way this time.

And our ultra distance man Iain Morrice-

Lairig Ghru Ultra Marathon Hill Race
A wee update from my 28 mile run in the Cairgorm Mouintains.
The race is organised by the Deesde Hill Runners, a smashing wee club which is very friendly. The route of this race takes you from Braemar to Aviemore via the Larig Ghru Mountain pass.
The conditions were good on the day, not too sunny and some rain at the start although strong sun was forecast for later in the day. We assembled at the old police station for the start of the race and I have to admit I was feeling a wee bit nervous. Had I done enough training, would my offroad shoes be good, did I have enough water, did I have the correct food etc etc.
The race started at 10am and I did something I have not done before and that is to start last at the back of the field of 72 runners.I wanted to make sure that my legs etc were nice and warmed up before hitting the trails and the boulder fields as I had heard it was pretty tough. I stayed at the back for the first couple of miles and I then managed to pass about 20 runners within the next 4 miles so things were going good. I teamed up with a guy from the Carnegie club and we ran for miles together which helped us both.
The mountains and views were out of this world, you were running through the very heart of Scotland.
The route is as follows, Braemar to Linn o Dee on tarmac single track road, you then pick up forest trails then go offroad onto rough stoney trails crossing rivers and then starting the climb. You climb 2100 feet to a height of 2800ft on very rough stoney trails and large boulder fields. To let you know how tough this part of the route is, it took me 2hours 45mins to do 15 miles which I would normally cover in 1hour 45mins.
Once you get to the large boulder fields at the head of the pass you then start to run on flatish stoney trails which lead to good tracks through the forest at Rothiemurchus and then onto tarmac for the final 3 miles to Aviemore.
Many of the runners had done the event before and some were first timers like me, some of the experienced guys did`nt even carry water, they carried plastic cups which they used to take water from the burns and streams on the route. I got a bit worried when I was running with 2 guys from Croatia who were wearing long protection socks upto their knees!!!, worrying.
I have done longer ultras before but this was I feel the toughest so far mainly due to the underfoot conditions.
I managed to finish in 4hours 31mins which placed me 30th out of 72 runners so I was really pleased with that. What was more pleasing was the fact that all my training had come good and that included the hydration and food part which was spot on. The finish is great as you run up the main street in Aviemore and get loads of smiley faces and cheers form all the tourists and locals. 
This race is a good one but not one for the faint hearted, there were a lot of injuries and lots of blood cover legs at the end and obviously a lot of sweat.
Honestly this race is well worth doing if you fancy doing an ultra Marathon, particulary as it is not your usual 40/50miles Ultra. The one thing I would suggest to anyone who is thinking of doing it in future is make sure you do plenty of hill running as part of your training, it will pay dividends.

Musselburgh 10k Ann Laidlaw gets her pb and beats the 1 hour mark

It was very much a last minute decision to enter the Musselburgh 10K, the day before to be exact. Norma very kindly offered to give me a lift into the race, so I had no excuse for not going. We arrived about 45 minutes before the start and collected our numbers, and headed off for a comfort stop.

We managed to catch up with a few of the other Harmeny runners taking part, before taking up our starting position near the rear of the field. I like to start quite far back so that I avoid being in the way of faster runners.

As usual I made a slow start, and saw the majority of runners disappearing off into the distance, well round the playing fields at least. I’m not a big fan of running on grass, so when we got off the grass and onto the path, I felt more comfortable.

Just after the 2K mark, I spotted Gail Crosbie way out in the distance. I thought that if I could keep her in sight, I’d be doing OK. After heading along by the seafront we turned right along a track, then right again and back onto the dreaded grass. As we ran along beside the race track, I slowed down a little, and lost sight of Gail.

On leaving the racecourse it was back onto the road, and my pace quickened again.  As I neared the bridge I spotted Gail again. She was over the other side of the river Esk. I felt not too bad at this point, but was not looking forward to the final burst on the grass. A short run along by the river  then around the wall outside the playing fields, back onto the grass and doubling back along the wall this time inside it. Along by the trees and around the little hill then the finish line was in sight. I was greeted by Gail standing by the finish yelling encouragement at me.

“Go, Go, Go!” and “Come On!” and something about picking my legs up too, I think. I spotted the clock and saw that it was under the hour, and with Gail still shouting encouragement I put on my first ever sprint finish. It was incredible, for the first time in a race I found a little extra something.

I crossed the line in 59 minutes and 43 seconds, a new PB and my first sub hour 10K. I was immediately greeted by Nicky and Gail who both congratulated me.

We watched the final runners coming home, before Norma, Gail and I headed back to the car to head home, via Luca’s for a well deserved Ice Cream.

The Event itself was well organised and marshalled. The course took us over a mixture of roads and short grass, and was very flat. There was a pleasant cool breeze off the sea.

And finally Allan Kerr on the Hawick triathlon

Hawick Sprint 5th July 2009: Driving down to Hawick for my first triathlon in almost a year.  I was looking forward to a 'real' race as there was a danger I was becoming just a runner!! (Only joking for all you serious runners out there.)
Got off to a bad start, last out of the water, in my slowest swim time ever (12mins 36 secs).  However, made up a few places with a fast 17 second transition.  During the cycle I managed to pass 14 cyclists and I was surprised to see a rival in transition 2.
Out on the run and my rival is only 50m ahead of me and I catch him after about 400m.   I don't see anyone else on the run until some young whipper snapper beats me to the finish line.  As it turns out he started 5 secs before me, so I easily beat him with 4 secs to spare - that'll teach him!!
I get a pleasant surprise when the results arrive - 10th overall and 1st Supervet.
Looking forward to the Scottish Championships in 2 weeks time.
(kindly typed up by his daughter Laurie!)

 Club Juniors: By Bob: As most members will know, the core activity of the club since being formed over thirty years ago has been providing training and competitive opportunities in athletics for children (and adults). After our summer break we resume on Mon 24 / Wed 26 August. As ever we are desperate to unearth additional volunteers with the commitment to become an active, regular part of the coaching set-up. It’s tough & time-demanding but instead of thinking about only one person …. you could be helping a new sporting generation.

I’ll be waiting with baited breath….

 Other Results

Corstorphine AC 5 Mile 10 June 09     119 Runners
93     Alan Greirson                 38.45  
94     Nicola Nash                   39.15       
102   Nicola Freedman          40.43       

Skye Half 13 June 09                             290 Runners
126   Nicola Nash                   1.47.11                                                                      

Beltane 10k 14 June 09                          169 Runners
85     Lorna Broadhurst         47.51       
86     Nia Ball                           47.59       
95     Bev Dodgosn                 48.26       
96     Howard Okely                48.26       
136   Ian McBride                   55.26       


Portobello 4 Mile 18 June 09                 110 Runners
50     Ian Smith                       27.37       
70     Lorna Broadhurst         30.31       
99     Gail Crosbie                    35.45       
104   Angela Nicholson          40.55         

Lairig Ghru Hill Race 20 June 09           70 Runners
30     Iain Morrice                      4.31.14                                                                      

7 Hills Race 21 June 09                           146 Runners
69     Caroline Dunn                    2.17.29  
134   Ian May                             2.54.17  
137   Johnathon Carpenter     3.08.15                                                                      

7 Hills Challenge                                        189 Runners
41     Howard Okely                   2.33.38 
51     Frank Tooley                     2.37.47 
99     Chris Morgan                     2.53.44 
100   Ian Smith                          2.53.47 
120   Karin McKendrick             2.59.55 
121    Bill McKendrick                 2.59.57                                                                     

Red Moss Revolution 24 June 09            111 Runners
34     Paul Thompson                  44.50     
43     Gavin Orr                           46.25     
59     Caroline Dunn                    48.50     
67     Ian Smith                          50.20     
71     Tim May                             51.00     
76     Kenny Tindall                     52.00     
85     Frank Tooley                     54.00     
94     Lorna Broadhurst             56.10     
104   Nicola Freedman              1.01.25  
109   Ann Laidlaw                       1.17.38                                                                     

Glenrothes 10k  28 June 09                    600 Runners
23     Gavin Orr                           39.42                                                                         

Jog Scotland 5k  30 June 09  6.30pm 729 Runners
41     Tom White                        20.53     
98     Alan Greirson                    22.50     
113    Howard Okely                   22.53     
155   Alan Price                          24.02     
158   Bev Dodgson                      24.20     
430   Jane Mole                          29.37     
686   Pauline White                    41.07                                                                         

Jog scotland 7.30                                    820 Runners
20     Paul Thompson                  19.02     
52     Ian Smith                          20.41     
63     Margie Leitch                    21.01      
102   Bob Douglas                       22.21     
158   Chris Morgan                     23.34     
171    Fiona Donaldson                23.52     
334   Morag Tweddle                 27.42                                                                         

Brig Bash 5  1 July 09                              218 Runners
74   Kirsty Stoddart                41.43                                                                         

Barra Half Marathon 4 July 09             167 Runners
127   Karen May                         2.13.09                                                                      

Arran Half Marathon 5 July 09             109 Runners
64     Howard Okely                   1.50.25  
75     Alan Price                          1.54.37  
107   Caroline Delahoyde         2.25.40 

Berneray 10k  11 July 09                         37 Runners
6       Tom White                        46.39     
25     Pauline White                    1.00.23  

Kelso 10k  12 July 09                               137 Runners
125   Gail Crosbie                       1.01.41   

Moffat 15k 14 July 09                             212 Runners
137   Willie Cummings                1.18.16   

Musselburgh 10k  25 July 09                  335 Runners
110    Tom White                        43.52     
148   Bill McKendrick                 46.17     
223   Nicola Torkington             50.03     
226   Karin McKendrick             50.12     
232   Kirsty Stoddart                50.47     
303   Gail Crosbie                       57.34     
313   Ann Laidlaw                       59.43     
328   Norma Bone                       66.39     
330   Pauline White                    67.01     


Current handicaps are on the web-site.      Club handicap races below. 

August 23                  Club Handicap down WOL

September 20th       Stirling 10k

October 25th                         Jedburgh half Marathon and a 10K

November                  Cross-country

 Info about a couple of other events

And in connection with the Men's Health magazine  an event is being organised  called Survial of the Fittest. This will happen in 3 different cities one being Edinburgh on the 18th of October please see the website for all details.


Race Dates – but check SAL website for complete listings

Sat 8 Aug      Haddington Half

Sun 9th Aug   Helensburgh Half Marathon  - scenic route down Gareloch!

Sun 23 Aug    Club 10k-&-a-bit pursuit handicap race.

Sun 6 Sep      Great Scottish Run / Glasgow half & 10k

Sun 13 Sep     Linlithgow 10k

Sun 20 Sep    Stirling 10k

Sun 4 Oct      Loch Ness Marathon / 10k / 5k

Sun 18 Oct Aviemore Half marathon

Sat 14 Nov Glen Clova Half marathon

See the club website for more local races coming up this year.


The full Scottish Athletics fixture list for the season is at